Personal Responsibility, Informed Consensual Kink

Updated: FEBRUARY 4, 2024

Personal responsibility, informed consensual kink (PRICK) is a safety protocol for play within the BDSM community. This framework emphasizes the personal responsibility of participants involved in risky sexual behaviors. It asks them to individually consent to each behavior after personally understanding and considering its risks.

How and Where It’s Used

BDSM practitioners can use PRICK when someone decides to play with a new partner or when they decide to try something new with an existing partner. People may also use PRICK if they decide they don’t want to engage in activities they’ve participated in previously. PRICK can work in any setting, from a private home to a BDSM party or dungeon.

“The essence of PRICK is that people should know what they’re getting themselves into and take full ownership of that,” explained Heather Shannon, a licensed clinical professional counselor (LCPC) and the host of the “Ask A Sex Therapist” podcast. “Actually putting PRICK into practice could look like doing internet research on kinks, asking around about best practices for your kink du jour in FetLife groups, watching videos to learn more about safety practices, attending educational workshops about specific kinks, and asking questions of your partners. It should also involve internal reflections to notice what types of emotions come up in your body around a particular scene or kink and what types of physical sensations come up for you when you play out the scene in your mind. Notice what thoughts or beliefs arise in your mind as well. Does your nervous system feel regulated? Do you anticipate the need for aftercare? How will you know when to say Yellow or Red (if you’re using the popular stoplight method of safewords)? When you have taken the time to educate yourself and inform yourself, chances are higher for a pleasurable experience.”

Once all parties feel informed and comfortable with what’s proposed, they can grant consent and start the scene. It’s their personal responsibility to deny consent or withdraw consent at any time if they feel uncomfortable.

How PRICK Compares to Other Frameworks

PRICK is one of several frameworks for safe BDSM play. Learning how it compares to other frameworks can help BDSM practitioners decide which model might work best for them.


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